Sunday, March 21, 2010

One Day Last Week

A view of the snowfall and fog one day last week.Yey! The sun has been coming out from behind the clouds more often the last several days. Everything in the world seems more rosy and pleasant to me when that happens. We are enjoying the days more. The dogs are staying outside a bit longer. We all are definitely looking for spring to arrive.

This photo was taken way back on the 8th. It seemed that it was so foggy and gloomy for so long. I'm so thankful that the weather has changed and the sun is now brighter with less clouds.

I mentioned in a previous blog that I would tell you about a visitor we had who stayed the weekend with us.
A doggy visitor stayed for the weekend - named Bella.We had a doggy visitor for the weekend a couple weeks ago. It was our grand-dog. I'm just now getting around to blogging about it. Here she is. Her name is Bella. She's a very pretty and intelligent dog. She is quite a bit different from our dogs, though. She is much more active. There seemed to be very little of her time spent relaxing and lounging around like our dogs tend to do. The first day was especially interesting. She was walking around inspecting our dogs and things in the house, checking out every noise, going to the window often to look out (looking for her own pack/people/mom & dad???) and wanting attention. She seemed to catch on to the lower level of activity that goes on as the norm in our house after the first day and a half. Yep, things are pretty boring around here, Bella. We have our routines and you happened to have shook things up for a bit.

Bella peeks into what I am doing.Bella's visit came during the height of me clearing through clutter - so I had all kinds of stuff drug up to the living room for me to go through it. Josh and Samantha warned me that she might try to jump up onto the furniture since they allow her to sit up there with them at their house. I said, "Not likely, I've got all my stuff on the couch so I can sort through it." So she was welcomed into our house, stuff and all.

Ever curious, Bella has to see what I am up to. While I tried to stay busy sorting through old papers and magazines with my recent purge, Bella seems to say, "That's not more important than me! Come on, let's play!"

But, here I am . . . starting in the middle of this tale. When she first got here we worked to try to get her integrated with our three dogs.

Getting to know one another.At first our little dogs show-cased their very territorial behavior. This is pretty much how chihuahuas are. They claim their place and guard it against all comers. Okay, maybe some of that is our fault as owners. Ours are not very social dogs since they are only exposed to a very few and limited number of people (and pets) on a day-to-day basis. Initially I kept a closer eye on all of them so Bella would have an opportunity to get to know each dog and blend in better with our pack without being barked at and ostracized right off the bat. I made sure each dog had a chance to greet her, and she them. I knew I'd want my camera on hand to document their time together. So I tried to snap some photos that told the story. Turns out our dogs weren't too open to increasing the size of our pack. And being dogs, it's not like they can understand that it was just going to be for a few days. The experience was not without a bit of strife.

Bella checks out Sparky.Bella did the doggy thing of course - to check out all the locals. Here she meets up with Sparky. She tried her best to be friendly with him, but Sparky shied away, looked to me to get away from her. It was like, "Mom, pick me up, this strange dog is all over the place." I didn't pick him up. I wanted him to get used to Bella being here. He gave up pestering me, then ended up running away into his kennel.

Ginger tries to avoid Bella's friendly overtures.Here Ginger tries to avoid Bella's friendly overtures. She insisted on turning and walking away in the opposite direction of wherever Bella went.

I think Sugar is actually the alpha female of the pack. She was giving the most pronounced signals to back away. The others picked up on that. Sparky and Ginger just seemed to be trying to walk away and ignore Bella. There were times it seemed like Ginger was interested in playing and being more friendly with Bella. Of all the dogs, she was the most interested in interacting with her. But it was just for very short periods of time. Then she would change her mind and abruptly turn away, try to walk away with Bella following after her, "What's wrong, don't you want to play?" Sugar and Sparky would often vocalize their opinion of Bella. And it wasn't very favorable.

Sugar maintains dominance over her territory near the kennel.Sugar was so funny. She came out of her kennel to bark, sniff the newcomer, and spy on stuff that was happening outside her range of view from her spot in the kennel. But right away, if Bella headed her way, she would go back and sit at the open door of her kennel ready to bark anytime Bella passed too closely to her territory. She definitely wanted to claim this spot as hers and made sure Bella and the rest of us knew it. I kept scolding her to be quiet, to quit barking. Several times I did what Caesar (The Dog Whisperer) does and pin her down in a submissive pose till she settled down.

Ginger lays on her bed trying to ignore Bella.Here's a picture of Ginger laying on her bed, head down, but eyes following all the activity as Bella wanders around the house exploring. Sugar is maintaining her reign over her little kingdom from her spot in the kennel. Sparky is on his side of the kennel, out of view in this shot. When Bella would walk by, Sugar barked. At times Ginger would give a low growl, but wouldn't budge from her bed. Obviously letting Bella know she had her spot she wasn't willing to give up either. Bella did not try to take over their beds. She found a spot on the rug near my chair.

Bella finally slumped down on the floor, so dejected."Humpf," as she slumped down on the floor and laid her head onto her paws. "No one seems to want to play with me," she sighed. It was a long and loud, audible sigh. She seemed bored, or maybe disgusted and dejected. Awww . . . poor Bella. Sorry to say she didn't get the arms wide open welcome from my pack. They were shameless in their rejection of her.

Excuse me, they're ignoring me. Can I have your attention, please?After trying, and failing, to get our three dogs to play and interact with her I figured I'd go back to sorting through my paperwork and leave them be. I thought maybe if I wasn't paying too close attention to them, then they would decide to investigate her and accept Bella. Perhaps they would interact with her on their own a bit more. Nope, no way, nothing doing. They went on ignoring her. You can see here she's asking me to come play with her and they're watching on to see what happens.

In a way it was comical. They were really interested in her and what she was doing - and how I was reacting with her - but on the other hand they were trying to shun her and be un-welcoming toward her. When I paid attention to her, to pet her and play with her, then they tried even harder to get me to pay attention to them and to ignore her. Ginger is a jealous dog sometimes when it comes to the chihuahuas getting attention from us. The ploys for attention were even more exaggerated with an extra dog in the house, not only from her, but from all the dogs.

Sparky gets bold to tell me to do something about the situation.While I was looking through papers I was surprised by Sparky coming over to my chair. He never does that! He is usually the one to stay put in his spot in the kennel. If anything, it's Sugar who comes out of the kennel to do some exploring.

Apparently I was not paying enough attention to the fact that there was a stranger in the house walking around. Here Sparky is taking the initiative to come tell me I need to handle this interloper, Bella. He's saying, "Something is up, something is different, we don't like it and you're not doing anything about it. Pay attention to us. Stop looking at papers!" Soon after this he ran back into his kennel and stayed there till I got up and put them all outside again.

We managed to get through the weekend without any big mishaps. No dog fights. The sniping and barking and growling tapered down after awhile. They never really became one big happy dog pack though. They more or less just tolerated each other.

Bella - Queen of the Snow Hill.Bella loved to romp around out in the snow. She is definitely different from our dogs in this respect. Our chihuahuas just like to do a quick job out with their business then right back in. Ginger will stay outdoors longer, but seems to be fairly bored with the backyard. She's used to things there, but she sometimes enjoys staying outside longer when she is laying out on the sidewalk on a sunny day.

Bella seemed to truly enjoy the snow. She would dig her nose into its fluffiness and toss it into the air. She seemed to love to dig in it - by the time she left there were a number of holes in the snow around the yard. She explored all around the perimeter of the fence visiting neighbor dogs. She spent time checking out all the sheds and paths in the back. Her favorite thing seemed to be playing "Queen of the Hill" when she would run up onto the highest pile of snow and watch the other dogs below. She was the exuberant newcomer. She was challenging them to come up and play with her. They were having none of it though. Just a quick trip out, then back in for them.

At times it took a lot of calling to her and cajoling to get her to come back inside. Long after our dogs were back inside I would repeatedly go to the door to caller her, trying to get her to come back indoors. I was concerned she would remember she climbed on top of the snow and jumped over the fence the last time she stayed with us. I didn't want her to run off or go down the street when I wasn't looking. So I didn't dare leave her out on her own for too long outside. Ginger often came to stand next to me and peer out at her when I was calling her to come in. When she didn't come, Ginger would look up at me as if to say, "She's not listening to you. She doesn't want to come in."

Yeah, I know, Ginger. She didn't get too good a reception around here from you guys. Can you blame her?

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